Title: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication date: April 13th, 2021
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.
When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.
Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.
An exciting start to a new trilogy, The Prison Healer is a dark, fantasy set in a death prison. Kiva Meridan has been a prisoner at Zalindov for 10 years now, and serves as the healer for the prisoners. Zalindov is a corrupt, evil place that no one survives, but by keeping her head down and staying out of trouble Kiva has lived and survived longer than expected. The Rebel Queen shows up to the prison and Kiva is put in charge of her health, told she must keep Tilda alive to undertake the Trial by Ordeal. Her family also tasks her with keeping Tilda alive, saying they are coming for her. But help never arrives, and Kiva must get creative in her mission.
Phew boy, this book left me breathless and immediately wanting to reread it. The Prison Healer is suspenseful, dark, and filled with interesting characters. Every character served a purpose, every conversation and plot point furthering the story. No words were wasted and every piece is important for the larger picture. I loved the prison setting, it reminded me a lot of Endovier from the Throne of Glass series, but instead of brief snippets you get the whole book set in this horrible place. The Trial by Ordeal was fascinating to read and the greater political intrigue rounded out the plot nicely.
I’m not sure what more I can say. I have no critiques, I did not see any of the plot twists coming and I was gaping at my kindle by the end. I’m so excited to continue reading in this series to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book, please go pick it up.
Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!